Just look at these cute little “mice in jackets” – they’re baked potatoes, scooped out and refilled with mashed potato and decorated with vegetable pieces.
This adorable recipe came from a kids cookbook by Annabelle Karmel that I picked up years ago when my son was little.
It’s a great cookbook to get kids into the kitchen, with lots of pictures, simple step-by-step instructions and appealing dishes, like these mice.
Of all the great recipes in this book, this is the one we’ve made over and over with our kids, and these days I’ve even adapted it to be vegan.
And it’s relatively quick and easy to do as well, which is important in a busy household. The only thing you have to remember to do in advance is get the potatoes baking for 40-60 minutes, plus time for cooling down.
Basically, you bake the potatoes, and once they’re cool enough to handle, you cut the tops off, scoop the middles out and mash them with cheese and butter (or vegan cheese and olive oil in our case), with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Then you stuff the cheesy mash back into the potatoes, top with a bit more grated (vegan) cheese, and put them under the grill for a few minutes to warm them up a little and melt the cheese.
You could probably even use a raw vegan cheese in the mash and on top, and just warm them briefly under the grill, so that the only part of the dish that’s actually cooked is the potato. (Might have to work our way towards that one.)
And then you make them into mice!
We used half a cherry tomato for the nose (attached with toothpicks) and fresh (homegrown!) chives for the whiskers. The tail is the top end of a spring onion, so make sure you buy a bunch that still has the tips on.
The original recipe used sultanas for eyes and radish slices for ears, but my kids don’t like sultanas and we were all out of radishes, so we got creative and used black olive slices for eyes and cucumber slices for ears – all the veggies my kids love to eat anyway.
And then you just use the leftover bits (and any other veggies you can sneak in) to decorate the plate with “mice food” – mashed potato for cheese, sliced leek for grass – and before you know it, the kids are happily eating a bunch of fresh vegetables.
How can they resist such cute, edible creations?